A New & Improved Standard for Unlicensed Transmitters? - C63.10-2013 Review

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November 27, 2013

C63.10-2013 was released back in September and has received quite a bit of praise – but it has caused some controversy as well.

The purpose of C63.10 was to put all the test methods for unlicensed transmitters into one document. The first version of the standard was released in 2009 and included what was considered to be “non-confrontational” test methods. The standard was adopted by the FCC and Industry Canada for the testing of unlicensed transmitters. Four years later, version two has been released and includes the so-called “confrontational” test methods.

The standard covers every type of transmitter that fall into the unlicensed category. The test methods have been gathered from a multitude of resources including the FCC, Industry Canada, manufacturers, test laboratories, and certification bodies from around the world.  Very detailed instructions have been provided for some very complicated transmitters including digital transmission systems that include transmitter power control and dynamic frequency selection. These procedures were only published in various FCC knowledge database documents that were sometimes tedious to dig up.

Another useful tool is a reference table included in Annex A. The table steps through the FCC Part 15 rules one by one and cross-references sub-clauses in the standard to point out specific tests that pertain to the specific rule part.

This standard along with C63.4 can be used as a test method for almost every unlicensed transmitter.

As a test laboratory, you should look out for procedures that have not been adopted by the regulating bodies. One that stands out in my eyes is the formula for the distance correction factor for frequencies below 30MHz.

Overall, C63.10-2013 is a huge improvement over any previous document or documents for test procedures for unlicensed transmitters.